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An Islamic organisation, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the management of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, to investigate the alleged abuse of a female Muslim student in the OAU International school.
MURIC’s made the request in a press statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 26th May, 2021.
According to MURIC, the girl was unfairly treated and her father has removed her from the school in protest.
MURIC said, “One of the teachers of the Obafemi Awolowo International School (OAUIS), Mrs. Adeyemo, has allegedly harassed a female Muslim student of the school. The intimidation has made the girl’s parents to withdraw her from the school.
“The girl who was in the habit of using her hijab from home and removing it at the school’s gate (since hijab is not allowed by the school’s authorities) was harassed by Mrs. Adeyemo. Although the girl had removed her hijab as usual at the school’s gate, the teacher still confronted her after she entered the school claiming that she had seen the girl in hijab within the university premises. She gave the girl a totally contemptuous wash down that the latter wept profusely.”MURIC wrote.
“The parents reportedly came to the school in protest. They argued that their daughter had not violated any of the school’s rules because the girl had removed her hijab before entering the school’s premises. The school authority allegedly argued that it was against the school’s policy for any female student to wear hijab on her uniform anywhere at all and that OAU campus was part andparcel of the school’s premises. Consequently, the girl’s father withdrew his daughter out of frustration.”
MURIC also said the incident in a dent on the secondary school and the university’s image.
The Islamic organisation urged the Psychology Department of the Faculty of Education in OAU to do a work on the mentality of some of the teachers in its international school.
He continued, “MURIC is greatly amused by this ugly development. As far as the school authorities are concerned, they see this as a win-win situation. On the contrary, it is a dent on the school’s image. We find it interesting that an international school within the premises of an ivory tower will encourage child abuse of such highlevel. It is quite nauseating.
“Or do we need a lawyer from outside OAU to explain the implications of what the authorities of OAUIS has done to a little girl? OAUIS has locked out a girlchild from its premises. A girl child has been denied access to education on account of a small head scarf at a time the whole world is clamouring for education for the same girl child. It is child abuse of high level magnitude.
“Worsestill, the Psychology Department of the Faculty of Education in OAU needs to work on the mentality of some of the teachers in its international school before further damage is done. Are they aware of the damage done by Mrs.Adeyemo to the psyche of the female Muslim student who was harassed by her andon account of which the girl lost her studentship?
“Records show that a number of students treated with disdain by their teachers have been known to go into a state of despondency. Many of them become melancholy, incommunicado,drooling all day long. They get detached from all types of academic work. Depressionsets in. They also have high propensity for suicide if no urgent steps aretaken to reset their pshyche and many are known to have committed suicide onaccount of tongue-lashing by insensitive teachers.
The statement further lambasted the school’s decision to ban the use of hijabs in school. It said although the Muslim students are allowed to perform prayers in the school, ban on hijab dwarfs the positive effects of such privilege.
Akintola then challenged the legality of banning hijabs in southern region while the Muslim students in northern Nigeria are overwhelming allowed to wear hijabs.
He said, “We must place on record the fact that the Muslim students in OAUIS are allowed to observe their Salat (prayer)in the school and Islamic Religious Knowledge is also taught there. Credit for this goes to both the OAU Muslim community and the school authorities. But the refusal to allow female Muslim students to don hijab dwarfs all these.
“Our position is based on the fact that fundamental human rights have always been whole, not partial. Whoever grants some civil liberties only to withhold some has granted no rights at all. It is like givingsomebody gold with one hand and using the other to take it back. It is either you recognize all civil rights or you deny all. There is no middle way in Allah-given fundamental human rights. They are not even yours to give in thefirst place. They are from Allah. That is why we call them Allah-given rights.
“The Argument that the use of hijab violates the school’s rules does not hold any weight we. The Nigerian Constitution grants religious freedom, including freedom touse hijab. It is important to note that the Constitution is the font etorigo and any rule, regulation or law of any local or state government,agency or institution that contravenes any clause therein remains null, voidand ultra vires. To that extent, therefore, no school within the countryby whatever nomenclature it is called has the power to declare illegal thehijab which the Nigerian Constitution authoritatively makes legitimate.
“This is another example of the persecution of Muslim children in the hands of overzealous and intolerant Christian civil servants and teachers in the SouthWest. It is interesting that Mrs. Adeyemo bears a Yoruba name. The female Muslim student is also a Yoruba girl. Will Yoruba Muslims not face worse persecution in the hands of Christians if the Yorubas eventually succeed intheir plan to secede? Will Muslims be safe at that time when they are not safeeven now? Will the Muslims of Yorubaland enjoy any religious freedom if theproposed Oduduwa Republic becomes a reality?
“The interesting thing is that Muslims only suffer like this in the southern part of Nigeria. They enjoy their Allah-given fundamental human rights in the whole North. Yet Nigeria has just one constitution, not two, not three. Why then should hijab be legitimate in Northern schools but ‘illegitimate’ in Yorubaland?”